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Date:      Sat, 11 Aug 2007 01:26:58 +0200
From:      Danny Pansters <danny@ricin.com>
To:        freebsd-questions@freebsd.org
Cc:        Latitude <robertjx@ix.netcom.com>
Subject:   Re: Convince me, please!
Message-ID:  <200708110126.58809.danny@ricin.com>
In-Reply-To: <46BA9682.7020203@ix.netcom.com>
References:  <46BA9682.7020203@ix.netcom.com>

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On Thursday 09 August 2007 06:22:26 Latitude wrote:
> I'm interested in changing over to FreeBSD from Windows, but I'll have
> to say, you guys don't really present a forceful argument to Windows

Well, it's a very different thing. But it can do mostly the same tasks though 
(and many more).

> users of how easy the switch may be.  I get knee-deep in FreeBSD jargon
> the second I get to your webpage. I need to see an overwhelming argument

Everything that is sorta specialized has its jargon, especially something that 
is very technical, like an operating system. We do have a very good handbook 
though, which does a pretty good job to gently introduce all that jargon to 
people who want to know what it's all about.

> that FreeBSD is a perfectly acceptable alternative for home desktop
> users who have previously known only Windows.

It can be an acceptable alternative depending on what's considered acceptable, 
that is, what you want to do with it. I use it exclusively on my desktop. 
I'll admit that sometimes you may have to "hack around" a little though. But 
that's also the fun of it.

I also do some programming specifically for the FreeBSD desktop. We surely 
need improvement there, of course we do, we're a volunteer project. But for 
me it's nice enough and if I want to I can control it to a level that Windows 
never allows a user to get to. If you're not a tinkerer you could try and see 
if you like PC-BSD or DesktopBSD. They are similar but "preconfigured" 
FreeBSD based operating systems.

> For instance, if I download and install FreeBSD, will I instantly have a
> desktop windowing environment that I can navigate in while I figure out

You can have that if you select a desktop environment at install (e.g. KDE or 
GNOME).

> what's going on?  Will I have a browser and way to setup an internet

Browser: yes, even many if you select many.

> connection right off the bat?  How will I migrate files from other

Nowadays most people have DSL or cable and both come with a modem and/or 
router. If you are in the "sysinstall" installer and you have such a 
connection through DHCP it should instantly work. Otherwise, if for example 
behind a (or your own) firewall, at worst, you'd have to type an IP address, 
make up some computer name for it, and maybe type in the DNS addresses of 
your ISP. You'd need to do this too in windows.

If you have a dial-in modem, I suggest you try installing KDE and use kppp to 
connect.

> operating systems?

It's possible to mount windows FAT and NTFS partitions and then copy the data 
over. Obviously if some data is dependent on a Microsoft program to be 
useful, we may not have an ability to load it into another equivalent 
program. But for most common formats, like most Office documents, this is no 
problem for software like OpenOffice or KOffice (perhaps some minor things 
need to be adjusted).

> I understand you guys have been around for a while, but you don't seem
> to understand the monumental "fear" involved in switching operating

The "fear" is justified. Something else will always be, well, different :)

> systems.  You need to address those concerns head on from the start.  I

Like I said, the handbook does this quite well. It's still for the technically 
inclined, yes. That probably won't change, if only because at FreeBSD they 
like to give the user (which may also be a developer of course!) as much 
choice as [s]he needs.

But you know what, all in all, I think to have a nice desktop on FreeBSD and 
have your network up and everything work, etc, and perhaps some multimedia 
hardware setup, all that is probably in less then 10 config files, which are 
all text, so once you read up on how to use them and all the possibilities 
they have (just focus on the ones you're interested in, I do that too), you 
have a lot of power on your hands.

Is that user unfriendly or user-enabling? Again, depends on what you expect I 
guess. But I hope that you can understand that if this "enabling" wasn't 
there we wouldn't have the developer community that we have and need.

> need to see several screenshots of apps that I can use as alternatives
> to what I have.

Generally, the screenshots you see from Linux distributions show the same 
programs that have been ported and thus run on FreeBSD. So that's your 
browser, email program, music player, etc. There's many of them.

> Help me (and yourselves) out.

Hope I did. It's not all that hard to give a to-the-point and honest answer.


Now here's some food for thought for all the "advocates" who found it 
necessary to answer:

It's apparently harder to shut your fat fucking face if you don't have 
anything useful to contribute.

With the notable exceptions of  Paul Schmehl, Mario Lobo and a few others, the 
majority of snide answers here are nothing short of disgraceful. Great way to 
chase folks away. It's immaterial if its flamebait or not. 

I for one *am* doing my best to make the FreeBSD desktop nicer and 
more "idiot-proof" (KDE in my case) and then to read juvenile remarks about 
how the console is the best thing since sliced bread and other stupid things, 
well, you know what? It's *you* who are gladly invited to fuck off and move 
on to something more esoteric if that's what makes you feel important as far 
as I'm concerned. Gentoo perhaps.

Meanwhile, just let the people who *do* matter do their work and don't leave 
the impression that you are spokespersons for us.

I'm not a spokesperson of FreeBSD but I can assure you that the folks who 
actually do stuff do care about the desktop and you're disgracing and 
discreding our work.

Cheers,

Dan



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